Mazda Exec: Will Keep Focusing On Hydrogen Combustion Vehicle Last update: 6/23/2008 1:44:06 AM YOKOHAMA, Japan (Dow Jones)--Mazda Motor Corp. (7267.TO) continues to focus on hydrogen combustion vehicles as a mainstay emmissions-free car, believing the technology has advantages over the fuel-cell vehicles being developed by rival car makers, a Mazda executive said Monday. "I have a big question (regarding) whether fuel-cell cars can really can come into wide use," said Seita Kanai, a senior Mazda executive in charge of the company's research and development. The comments reflect the car maker's confidence about the potential of Mazda's hydrogen system, even though it isn't mainstream. The Japanese affiliate of Ford Motor Co. (F) is the only car company in Japan that offers cars with internal-combustion engines that run on hydrogen and emit only water vapor. It is one of just two companies worldwide that leases such cars, along with Germany's BWM AG (BMW.XE). The cars can also run on gasoline when they run out of hydrogen. Others car makers such as Toyota Motor Corp. (7203.TO) and General Motors Corp. (GM) are developing and leasing cars with fuel-cell systems that generate electricity to power cars through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. Fuel-cell technologies are more energy-efficient but are still costly. That is because they use precious metals in their power-generating systems and run only on hydrogen. At the moment there are few hydrogen filling stations and fuel-cell cars require hydrogen that is 99.99% pure, compared with the 90% purity required for Mazda's hydrogen-burning cars. Even so, Mazda's zero-emission vehicles "may be too unique to match" future public infrastructure if the fuel-cell technologies its rivals are pursuing become more popular, Kanai said, adding that the company may need others to use standards similar to Mazda's own fuel systems for the cars to be commercially viable. The Hiroshima-based company said Friday it aims to begin leasing its most recent hydrogen combustion vehicle with an electric motor by the end of March in Japan. The Hiroshima-based company hasn't yet set a lease sales target or a leasing fee for the newest model. Honda Motor Co. said a week ago it will roll out its third-generation fuel-cell car in the U.S. and Japan this year. Mazda is jointly developing a fuel-cell system with Ford. But the development project has been mainly led by the U.S. car maker. As for other low-emission technologies, Mazda said Monday that it will begin to launch new diesel engines globally starting from 2011. By introducing those advanced power trains, the Japanese car maker aims to cut the fuel consumption of its fleet by 30% by 2015. -By Yoshio Takahashi, Dow Jones Newswires; 813-5255-2929; firstname.lastname@example.org (END) Dow Jones Newswires
>> Who on here understands hydrogen power, and >> where are we when it comes to this technology? >> Is this technology moving forward?
I'm a physicist and a technology journalist, if you have some questions about this, my office phone number is 205-348-3779. I'm not there now, but I will be after about noon, Central time.
In a nutshell, the "hydrogen economy" is something of a boondoggle, much of its original government funding came in an attempt to undo minimum mpg standards for Detroit from Clinton's administration. That part worked, and the minimum mpg standards were raised around 2002, and of course now we're paying the price because so many of us (including me) are stuck with gas-guzzling land yachts.
Second, the term 'hyrdogen power' is sort of a misnomer. Hydrogen is more accurately a energy storge medium, because regardless of whether you're getting the hydrogen from electrolyzing water (which takes a lot of energy) or from petrochemicals (which takes less energy, but uses a limited resource) then the Second of Law of Thermodynamics demands that you cannot get as much energy out as what you put in (on in the case of petro, that the sun put in a few hundred thousand years ago).
However, fuel cells are excellent for certain applications, possibly off-grid energy storage. I don't envision a huge future for them in vehicles however, because they're going to have to compete against ultracapacitors for energy storage, which give near zero-loss energy storage, near 100% safe energy storage and near instantaneous energy storage. Plus, they are a phase-lossless method. The only thing holding back ultracapacitors right now is gradual industry conversion from batteries to ultracaps ... it's going to take several more years for things to really get moving, and also for industry to adapt to the exponential charge/dischage nature of capacitors.
Okay, back to hydrogen ...
I think there is a future in hydrogen, albeit a much more limited one than the wonks would have us believe. As for investment, if you're looking for the right kind of company, I suggest companies that understand the future of hydrogen as an off-grid energy storage method, especially for houses, and obviously, for ENER's growing market. But if the comapny is vehicle-centered, I suggest steering clear.
Peswiki? Is that a company exploring hydrogen? As far as today, is hydrogen power really not there? What about the companies selling conversion type devices for your car today? Are they a scam or do they work?